By: Kaitlyn Peters, Greenheart Work and Travel Employer Services Coordinator

When most people think about visiting China, the capital city of Beijing is the first destination that comes to mind. In early March, I had the opportunity to visit Chengdu, a bustling metropolis in western China. In addition to meeting our Chinese Work and Travel participants at the job fairs, I was able to learn a few things about this vibrant city:

  1. Chengdu is home to the giant panda! Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding currently cares for over 80 pandas. The vast majority of pandas in China are living in captivity. Pandas’ existence is threatened by a variety of factors, the biggest concern being a panda’s diet. Pandas eat almost 100% bamboo and their present wild habitat consists of only small section of the bamboo forests of the hilly Sichuan Province. The Base and other habitat conservation efforts have allowed the number of pandas living in the wild to increase! Thanks largely to these efforts; the species has been reclassified from “endangered” to “vulnerable”!
  2. Chengdu has history! The city of Chengdu has been inhabited since 300 BC. It is the only city in China to have remained at an unchanged location with an unchanged name throughout the imperial, republican, and communist eras.
  3. Chengdu’s spicy reputation will not disappoint. Sichuan province, where Chengdu serves as the capital city, is famous for its Sichuan peppercorns. Not only are they used to bring a robust and spicy flavor to almost every dish, they also have the unique ability to numb your tongue if you bite into them!
  4. Chengdu has a dialect all their own. Unlike the different accents in different regions of the United States, China has many dialects. Many of which are mutually unintelligible to standard Mandarin. The native language in Chengdu is Sichuanese, but even Sichuanese has different dialects across the province!
  5. Life is slower in Chengdu. Even though there are only 10 million people in urban Chengdu compared to 24 million in Shanghai, Chengdu boasts a larger number of tea houses and bars. You can find a teahouse every corner. Relaxing over a cup of jasmine tea and concentrating on their next move in Mahjong is a very popular traditional Chinese strategy game.

If you have the opportunity to visit China, I would highly recommend taking a trek out to Chengdu to experience the unique cuisine, abundant history, and natural beauty!

Want to learn more about our International Job Fairs? Check out this video for a behind the scenes look!